KB & The Idyllwilde is a soul-rock band based in Nashville, TN, led by high octane vocalist Katie Burke. Her lyrical content deals in the offbeat and the ugly; the extremes of love, sex, death, and pain. Sonically, the band draws influence from artists ranging from Janis, Jimi, and Zeppelin to Beth Hart, DMB and Jack White.
The name ‘Idyllwilde’ is derived from its two root words ‘idyll’ meaning ‘story’, and ‘wild’ meaning anything goes. The two words come together in acknowledgment of the band’s mission: to make music without the limits of genre or content, honoring the idea that ‘anything goes’. To KB, every compelling story is worth telling no matter what it looks or sounds like.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
KB: I have a new album coming out February 14th, I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You as well as a massive album release show in Nashville. I’m so damn excited to get out there in April and tour this album. My latest single, “Madman” the first single, is currently out and its been fun to shoot a music video and enjoy the song that way.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
KB: I’ve had this band sound for two years. The bandmates change, but now we’re pretty set for 2020.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
KB: My original motivation for starting this band sound started about 6 years ago. I was imagining horns and rock and a big huge soulful voice. The sounds kind of kept me up at night. It was kind of lovely. Two years ago, I was finally sober enough, mad enough, and ready enough to start making music I always wanted to and do it in the way I’d heard for 6 years.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
KB: I’m a singer and actor who has figured a way to play guitar, and I’m currently invested in becoming a “real” musician, but I’ve been a poet with a musical tool since I was 14, that’s when I started writing songs. But I was in choir growing up and theatre in all my institutionalized educational life.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
KB: I think my music conveys freedom. I think the sex and joy and roughness of the music is all about the freedom to express yourself, and be a mess, and celebrate both.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
KB: Currently, my musical goals are to tour this new album through 2020 and get into the studio for the full length in the spring. I’m really excited to link up with some bigger bands and start opening bigger venues with people I admire and respect.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
KB: I think these are so different. I’m a safety lover, so being at home safe away from criticism and open to magic–yea, definitely my favorite thing in the world. But being on stage and celebrating life out loud with an audience is a privilege I have never fully appreciated until now.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
KB: The lyrics of my songs deal in pain and sex and darkness and the joy within these. Typically there is a lot of heart in my music. A lot of passion. My music typically isn’t easy listening, neither in content nor in musicality. My songs are from a very sure place that I don’t typically live in as an unsure person, myself. They come from a person who knows what she wants or knows what she doesn’t want. She’s my fighter side, that’s the part that crafts these songs right now. I’m a big ball of unsureity and fluid feelings personally, this persona is so sure and ready to rumble, I like to keep the peace.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
KB: As a musician, as an artist, I just want an excuse to tell the truth all the time. All the truths that occur to me, and through me. Music is an excuse to tell the stories that fascinate me the most that come out to explore.
Its all so real and acceptable. I wish I could be every person on Earth for a time. Sometimes, as a recovering addict, I feel like I have been every person on Earth. Or seen so many different kinds of suffering, I’ve also seen how beautiful suffering and fear can be. That’s the stuff I want to talk about.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
KB: I have nothing outrageous from touring, I’ve been on tour once, alone, and it is awesome. All I know is I love driving, probably more than anything else. Its like the ultimate vacation for the mind. And then the best is to keep landing in cities where friends reside. it feels good.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
KB: Not a request, but someone asked me if I was Native American. I’m not, but it was nice to be nominated!
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
KB: My family is the most supportive thing in my experience, besides my meditation/spiritual community. They’re all in, and want me to be me. We all know what it’s like to not be us.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
KB: If you’re like me with an active doer mind and exhaust and burn out a lot, get a spiritual practice to lean on, with a colorful and flavorful community attached. Its something to look to for guidance and support when life and career look like they suck. Plus, it keeps you on your toes with all the personalities and oddities that come with being in a group of people who all want to be well.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
KB: I think my favorite tracks to play live are “Drown” & “Believer”. “Drown” hits so hard, it feels so good, and “Believer” is like going to church for me.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
KB: I was watching The Color Purple and saw Shug Avery sing “God’s Trying to Tell You Something” at the end and I lost my mind. I was in choir at the time and had been singing with soul and people would turn around and ask me to sing back in line. But seeing her sing free as a bird really inspired me to just let loose. I didn’t start doing it in public until I was 20-something in Washington Square Park. That’s the first time I sang out, in a big way. A homeless man gave me a guitar to sing with and I just wailed.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
KB: Justin Timberlake, Jack White, Dave Matthews Band & Me.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
KB: I would say, getting sober. Its the only thing that allowed me to stop watering down all my energies, and start putting them into the work and sounds I wanted to be. That has been the key to my entire joyful existence.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
KB: I’d be licensing music and acting full time. Probably start my own theatre company. Basically, that’s on the other end of this ride. I’m excited to have both music and acting in my life again.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn't know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
KB: I’m pretty quiet and keep to myself but I love laughing very loudly. I really am not as crazy as I look, when I’m performing. And I have a podcast about sobriety and creativity that you should listen to if you want to improve your relationship to things you make.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you'd like to promote or say to your fans out there?
KB: I’m very grateful for people that love the shows and appreciate the high energy rollercoaster, and I hope to see you all on tour in April on the East Coast.